As part of REFORM’s efforts to develop tools that are responsive to the needs of the public, The Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority pledges to solve the power outages in Southern Hebron

The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development - REFORM conducted a series of dialogue sessions on the impact of enhancing complementarity between the South Electricity Company and the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority on public services provision. These sessions were attended by Eng. Zafer Melhem, the Acting Chairman of the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority, as well as representatives of the Palestinian Electricity Regulatory Council, the Ministries of the National Economy and the Local Government, the Palestinian Electricity Transmission Company, the Southern Electricity Company, and Municipalities of Yatta, Dura, and Al-Dhahriya. The sessions resulted in finding an agreement between parties, and developing an action plan as a real step towards solving the power outages in Southern Hebron.

The discussions addressed the continuous power outages in the cities of Yatta, Dura, and Al-Thahereya, and discussed the development of intervention and coordination tools with the competent authorities to ensure an efficient provision of basic needs to these areas.

The project’s coordinator, Rawan Sharqawi, pointed out that REFORM, over the course of two months, implemented a series of dialogue sessions with the relevant bodies, to shed light on the issue of power outages in Southern Hebron through media agencies and tools. Moreover, these sessions aimed at providing a safe space that supports dialogue between decision makers and competent authorities, in order to urge them to enhance cooperation and coordination channels among them, as well as to develop new tools, that are responsive to the needs of citizens, particularly those in marginalized areas.

The last session took place in the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority with the presence of its Acting Chairman, Eng. Zafer Melhem. During this session, an action plan was created and categorized into technical, administrative, and financial parts and was distributed afterwards among the relevant parties to start implementing it. Participants discussed the action plan and recommended to establish a new cooperation with the Southern Electricity Company to build electric feeders in Beit Oula upon acquiring all the required licenses, and support the Southern Electricity Company with the needed technical materials; as the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority has pledged to provide the Southern Electricity Company with the needed material for their current projects, and to consider the current electric meters as a direct payment for the Ministry of Finance, and the material and lighting tender as part of the clearing. The Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority has also called the Southern Electricity Company to rent out generators to be used when needed in work related tasks. Moreover, the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority has assured that it will handle all payments and tariff rate differences, to be deducted from the company’s debts.

With regards to financial matters, recommendations were as follows: Working with the Ministries of the National Economy and the Local Government to contribute in activating clearance for all subsequent customers, reviewing tariff rates, releasing municipal dues after finishing the scheduling process, as well as disconnecting untargeted areas’ account from the municipalities’ account and transferring their accounts to the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority. In addition, participants recommended modifying the company’s legal conditions and completing the licensing procedures after fulfilling the debt scheduling process. Moreover, participants suggested that the Ministry of Finance releases the municipalities’ reserved dues in exchange for distributing the company’s profits to the municipalities according to the law. In addition, the Ministry of Finance has pledged to cooperate with all parties, to reduce the indebtedness down to Zero. 

This activity is part of the Innovation Hub – Sociocultural Platform which seeks to contribute to bridging the gaps between the various community components on both social and economic levels; providing a safe and interactive platform to enable all members of different groups of society to participate in decision making processes, especially youth and women; and to improve their living conditions by developing untraditional production patterns, enhancing cooperation and partnership between targets groups, and increasing social responsibility of the private sector.

This work has been achieved in cooperation with Facilitating Social Participation of Palestinian Refugees – GIZ implemented on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (GIZ).